As promised, I will work through some hardcore race reporting.
May 23: Black Bear Olympic Distance Triathlon, Lehighton, Pennsylvania
Team Dolan (a.k.a The Dolan Fedeartion) descended on a remote location in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania for our season opener. I was not sure how this race was going to go, in fact I was really not too stoked. My training leading up to the event had been a bit of a wash, having been disrupted by a nagging Achilles issue (injury), senior week (party), the consequences of senior week (fatigue, illness), graduation (whirlwind), and post-graduation depression. But, the race was going to start regardless of my fitness, so I had to proceed as normal.
It's always exciting when you go for your warm-up before the race, and you feel horrible. You can not breathe, your legs feel like they have inexplicably expanded by about 30 pounds (each), and you develop a great desire to wear arm-floaties, because you have totally forgotten how to swim.
Miraculously, when that gun goes off, this feeling almost always goes away. I hammered the swim with a pack of 5 or 6 gentlemen, and emerged from the water a full minute faster than I have ever covered the distance before. Sweet, right? Yes. Wicked fast T1 and onto the bike. Now, I know that I had been told that it would be a hilly bike ride. I was not lied to. This course was essentially all hills. I was unable to get into a rhythm, but I slogged my way up, and spun my way down. I rode a 1:09 split for 40k (last year I rode consistently in the 58-59 minute range on flat or rolling courses). But my strong swim-bike performance brought me second into T2, under a minute behind the leader (pleasant surprise). I grabbed the running shoes and took off like a shot. I felt great for the first few minutes, and kept telling myself that I could win this race. However, after a few minutes of this, my legs quit on me. The wheels fell off, as they say, and I had to drastically revise my goal from going for the win to simply getting to the finish line. 5th place overall. Slow run. Positive experience and good opener? Yes.
June 6- Pittsford Triathlon, Pittsford, NY
I approached this one as a glorified, heavily-caffeinated training day. Pittsford is a somewhat silly race, but it is close, and a good opportunity to get in a hard effort. The pool swim (300 yd) is a formality, and doesn't do much for me, but the bike (15ish miles) and run (somewhere between 5k and 3.5 miles) are nice. Anyhow, I arrived at the race site and it was teeming rain and under 60 degrees, so that was sweet. The cold, rainy conditions at Black Bear had apparently followed me North, and had deteriorated even more. As I emerged from the pool, and powered past everyone on the bike, the rain drove so hard that it stung my bare arms like you wouldn't believe. I made sure to finish the damn race as fast as possible. I took the win by seven minutes and quickly changed my clothes. First win of the season.
Much bigger things on the horizon. Stay tuned.